Lexi's sick of it. She's sick of being the girl who hears about kisses instead of getting them. She's sick of being ignored by her longtime crush, Logan. She's sick of being taken for granted by her pageant-obsessed mom. And she's sick of having all her family's money wasted on a phony pursuit of perfection.
The time has come for Lexi to step out from the sidelines. Girls without great personalities aren't going to know what hit them. Because Lexi's going to play the beauty game - and she's in it to win it."
My Review: I have so much to say about this book. I was expecting a slightly-boring, cliche, boy-filled chick-lit...but that's not at all what I got.
To start with, Lexi is a great character. She's very relatable. She was a very honest mix of insecurity and confidence, of vanity and intelligence. She's a smart girl who's funny, is well-liked, and a hard worker. She's not too hard on her looks or her body and she knows she's a good person. But at the same time, she does feel depressed sometimes when she compares herself to her pretty little sister and she wishes people would pay her more attention and she gets sick of always being "the funny one" and not "the pretty one"---because, let's face it, in our world, looks do matter. And what girl can't relate to this? Even the most confident of girls feel insecure sometimes and some girls may be beauty queens, but a lot of us are a lot more average. And while that doesn't bother us 95% of the time, sometimes it can be a bit upsetting to not be really gorgeous.
Also, Lexi loved fashion, and since I love fashion, that was a nice thing to relate to.
So to say I liked and related to Lexi would be an understatement. Not only did I relate to her frustrations at always being "the funny one", I related SO much to her struggles with her family. Not that my family is that extreme---this is a novel, after all---but I can relate 100% to my parents taking my little sister's side 24/7 and blaming me for everything, even when it has nothing to do with me or was never my fault. I love my little sister but things like that make resentment hard to ignore, so I almost wept with relief when I finally found a character who GOT IT: who knew the feeling of loving her little sibling and wanting to protect her, but being frustrated by her parents and always being the one to give up HER time for her little siblings.
The secondary characters were also very winning. Mac was a huge brat at times, but she was also sweet at times. This is literally how my little sister is (and most little kids, to be honest). Lexi's mom frustrated me a lot. Parents need to start LISTENING to their kids a little more. The things Lexi's mom said and did made me want to throw the book at a wall and literally scream, that's how angry they made me. But on the other hand, Lexi's best friends were great. Benny was sweet and funny. Cam was sassy and loyal and seemed like she really had a heart of gold.
I also liked the message the book sent about beauty. Look, we all know that inner beauty is what TRULY matters---but like I said, everyone wants to feel pretty on the outside, too. So I liked that the author let readers know that it was okay to want to feel this way, as long as it didn't turn you into a total witch on the inside. Lexi initially dolled herself up as a dare, but she ended up liking looking a little girlier. She acknowledged that being a nice person is WAY more important than being pretty---which I totally agree with---but she also acknowledged that there's nothing wrong with wanting to be cute sometimes too. It's all a matter of balance.
And I like that Lexi followed her head and was more faithful to HERSELF than she was to any boy, because at the end, she chose to respect herself and not hook up with any of the boys who liked her. She knew finding herself was more important.
Like I said: I was expecting a fluffy chick-lit. Instead I got an amazing story about insecurities, best friends, family struggles, and striving for the best despite all the hardships in your life. I was really pleasantly surprised by this book---even though it made me really sad at times, because of Lexi's family problems---but I'm very glad I read it.
Cover: It's nice! It's very simple and understated. The name is pretty attention-catching and the fact that it's written in lipstick is a nice, subtle nod to the themes of inner and outer beauty layered throughout this book. Well done.